Coming off of the success of a season which culminated in a second-round loss in the NCAA tournament, the Miami University women’s soccer team was eager to take to the practice field this spring.
Unfortunately, Head Coach Bobby Kramig said uncooperative weather has limited the team’s ability to practice.
“This spring has been very, very frustrating,” Kramig said. “It hasn’t been nearly as productive as we would have liked it to have been, and really it’s all just been weather related.”
The RedHawks do not have an indoor practice facility, so they are unable to practice if it is raining heavily.
“We haven’t been able to get outside as much as we normally would,” Kramig said. “When we have gone outside, the field’s been frozen and it’s been bitter cold.”
The RedHawks finished their spring season with a 1-2-2 record after tying the University of Dayton Wednesday. One of the RedHawks’ exhibition games was canceled due to inclement weather. Due to the shortened exhibition season, Kramig said he has some unanswered questions heading into the regular season next fall.
“I would have liked to have had some of our reserve players get a bit more time, both in terms of training and playing time,” Kramig said.
When the RedHawks have been able to practice, Kramig has seen a team that has steadily improved as the exhibition season has progressed.
“I think it’s been all right, you know?” Kramig said. “I think when we played against Butler, we played that game having practiced for four games in freezing cold, and we looked like a team that had practiced for four days. I think that as the spring has gone on, and the weather has improved a little bit. Our practices have gotten better, they’ve become more productive and we have played better.”
Kramig said he stressed during the practice season he is mostly concerned with individual improvement from the players and not necessarily the final result in the win/loss column.
“Spring is different,” Kramig said. “If this were the fall I would say that we would be looking to win. Certainly we want to do well; we want to win the game. But we’re focused more on individual players in these games, and on small groups and small tactics types of things.”
One player that the RedHawks will rely upon this upcoming season is rising junior captain Katy Dolesh. Dolesh said the goal of this spring season was increasing team chemistry, as several players will be asked to step into more prominent roles when the regular season starts.
“There’s new people that are stepping into each position that have maybe played [that position] their whole lives but haven’t had the opportunity at Miami as much as they’d like to, and I think that they’re slowly starting to fit in,” Dolesh said.
One such player is rising freshman forward/midfielder Sydney Neal. Neal agreed with Dolesh’s assessment.
“I completely agree,” Neal said. “I’m one of the players that are trying to connect with everybody, so that’s kind of been a team goal [this spring].”
The RedHawks know they face high expectations for next season, and rising sophomore vice-captain Courtney Zanotti said they are ready to meet the challenge.
“We set the bar really high this season, and I think we can be just as good if not better if our heads are in the right place,” Zanotti said.